Hawaii Women Lawyers


Annual HWL Awards Reception

April 19, 2017

Presentation of HWL Awards for 2016

Joanne Grimes »
Zale Okazaki »
Honorable Trudy Senda »
Honorable Richard Clifton »
Ellen Godbey Carson »

Glass Shell Awards are given each year at the HWL Annual Awards










Joanne Grimes



Individual attorney having achieved accomplishments of significant merit that advance the mission of Hawaii Women Lawyers

Joanne Grimes

“Inspire, Participate, Vote and Lead” -- the headline on HWL’s website membership page aptly describes the contributions made by Joanne Lo Grimes since joining HWL in 1999, serving on HWL’s Board of Directors for over ten years, and leading the organization as its President in 2009. Ms. Grimes has participated in numerous committees, panels, projects, and programs, to improve the status of women in the legal profession, to increase the number of women attorneys in positions of authority and responsibility, and to promote the advancement of all women. These topics include: work-life balance, interviewing tips, law firm practice and partnership, judicial equity, applying to be a judge,leadership skills, financial planning, and reducing the “drop-out” rate (retention and advancement
of women in law). As a result of an HWL Ladies Luncheon organized by Ellen Godbey Carson in 2014, Ms. Grimes is a co-leader of a Lean-In Circle, whose members meet regularly to learn and grow together, and with the help of the Circle, have actually stepped outside their comfort zones to “lean in” to new opportunities.

A recipient of the Rhoda V. Lewis Award for Public Service, Ms. Grimes is actively involved in civic and community activities. Ms. Grimes is a director and member of the executive committee for PBS Hawaii, and a director and vice president of the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii. She also serves on the Hawaii Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism and the City & County of Honolulu Ethics Board of Appeals. She has served on the board of the Hawaii Justice Foundation, and on the Access to Justice Commission's Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 6.1 Task Force.

Before becoming a lawyer, Ms. Grimes worked at securities firms in New York City and Hong Kong. After a brief off-ramp to raise her children while living in American Samoa, Guam, and Hawaii, Ms. Grimes entered law school when her children were ages 7, 5, and 2. She earned her J.D. in 1994 while she and her husband juggled childcare with the help of the proverbial “village.” Her on-ramp back to work began with a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Ronald T.Y.Moon, Chief Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court. Following that clerkship, she worked in the Guam office of Carlsmith Ball LLP before returning in 1998 to work in Carlsmith’s Honolulu office, where she made partner in 2000, and served as a managing partner for 3 years. Her 20+ years of practice includes matters for some of Hawaii’s big old trusts, such as the terminations of the centuries-old Campbell and Damon Estates, and representation of the Parker Ranch Foundation Trust on the Big Island. Ms. Grimes also serves on the Trustee Screening Committee assisting the Probate Court to appoint successor trustees for the Kamehameha Schools.

Outside Hawaii, Ms.Grimes has been legal counsel to the Government of Guam Retirement Fund since 1996. She was legal counsel to the Hawaii Host Committee for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in 2011 and the National Host Committee for the IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2016.

Ms. Grimes and her husband, Tom (VP and CFO of Aloha Petroleum, Ltd.), are proud parents of daughter Dr. Sara Grimes (who was an HWLF grantee while at JABSOM) and her wife Jessa Matteo; grandchildren Lois, Luke, and Owen; son Ian Grimes; and daughter Ginger Grimes (an HWL member and the 2016-2017 Social Justice Fellow at Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho).

Zale Okazaki



Individual in our community who has made significant community contributions that advance the mission of Hawaii Women Lawyers

Zale Okazaki

Ms. Zale Okazaki is a partner with Chong, Nishimoto, Sia, Nakamura, & Goya.  She joined the firm in March 1999 and concentrates her practice in the areas of personal injury defense and real property.

Ms. Okazaki is active in various legal organizations.  She is a Director with the Hawaii State Bar Association and past chair/ co-chair for several successful HSBA fundraisers.  She is also a founding and current board member of Friends of the Family Specialty Courts.  She serves as a board member of Hawaii Women’s Legal Foundation, and has served as its fundraising chair in 2006 and 2007.  Ms. Okazaki is also a past Treasurer and board member of Hawaii Women Lawyers.

Ms. Okazaki is equally involved in the community having served on the board of the Honolulu Sunrise Rotary, YWCA of Oahu, and Organ Donor Center of Hawaii.  She is also a commissioner of the Hawaii Elections Commission and a board member of Read to Me International.

Ms. Okazaki has generously donated her time to help fundraise for many local non-profit organizations such as The Institute for Human Services (IHS) and Women of Waianae (WOW).  She has even organized fellow attorneys to provide meals for families involved with the Girls Court for the past few years.

Ms. Okazaki is a graduate of the University of Hawaii - Manoa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in French. She attended the University of Houston Law Center.

Honorable Trudy Senda



Judge who has made significant contributions to the bench that advance the mission of Hawaii Women Lawyers

Honorable Trudy Senda

Judge Trudy Senda is a 1983 graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law. After private practice on Oahu, she returned to her home island of Kauai in 1990 and continued her criminal and civil practice at the Law Offices of Randal Valenciano. She became a District/Family Judge in 2001 and served as the circuit's deputy chief judge from 2007 to 2016.

She has been a member of the Access To Justice Commission and the Commission On Professionalism and helped implement Kauai's first Girls Court program and
Self Help Center. She retired in December 2016 but continues as a volunteer in producing a 704
Mental Health Manual.

Honorable Richard Clifton



Individual in our community who has over her or his career made significant contributions in areas that advance the mission of Hawaii Women Lawyers

Honorable Richard Clifton

Judge Richard Clifton has been a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit since 2002, with chambers in Honolulu. After graduating from Princeton University and Yale Law School, he served as a law clerk for Judge Herbert Y.C. Choy, the first Hawaii resident
to serve on the Ninth Circuit, and then practiced law in Honolulu for 25 years.

He has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law intermittently since 1979. He has twice served as an acting associate justice of the Appellate Division of the High Court of American Samoa.

He is the Chairman of the U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on Federal-State Jurisdiction, Secretary of the Federal Judges Association, and a director or member of the Hawaii Women’s Legal Foundation, the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, the Ninth Circuit Pacific Islands Committee, the American Law Institute, and the Pacific Judicial Conference.

For 24 years, he was a director of Hawaii Public Radio, six years as its Chairman. He is married and has two adult children. He assumed senior status as a circuit judge on December 31, 2016, and continues to hear cases in that capacity.

Ellen Godbey Carson



In recognition of leadership in support of our community, the advancement of women and equality of all people

Ellen Godbey Carson

Ellen Carson’s roots are in Tennessee, where she witnessed racial inequality that caused her to decide to pursue a career in civil rights law.  She graduated from the University of Tennessee summa cum laude and from Harvard Law School cum laude.

She started her legal career doing civil rights work in Washington D.C, including representation of Japanese Americans in a suit to the U.S. Supreme Court for civil rights violations arising from their World War II imprisonment. She moved to Honolulu and became a director with the law firm of Alston Hunt Floyd and Ing until her retirement from the practice of law in 2016.

She has served as President of Hawaii Women Lawyers, Hawaii State Bar Association, Institute for Human Services, Hale Kipa Youth Shelters, Central Union Church and Sex Abuse Treatment Center. 

She has been honored by Hawaii Women Lawyers as its Outstanding Woman Lawyer of the Year and for Outstanding Service.  She has also received the American Bar Association’s Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, given to only five women in the nation each year. 

She hosted the Lady Lawyer lunches in Honolulu for the past 25 years, helped lead HWL’s successful efforts to bring gender equality to our private clubs, and has been a steadfast cheerleader for HWL and its programs.


Past Awardees


Outstanding Woman Lawyer of the Year

2015 Linda Ichiyama
2014 Janet Kelly

2013 Rep. Della Au Bellati
2012 Senator Maile Shimabukuro
2011 Shannon Wack and Jo Kim
2010 Kathryn Matayoshi
2009 Florence Nakakuni
2008 Hazel Beh
2007 Senator Colleen Hanabusa
2006 Colleen Wong
2005 Thalia Murphy
2004 Lea Hong
2003 Professor Mari Matsuda
2002 Congresswoman Patsy Mink
2001 General Coral Wong Pietsch
2000 Donna Tanoue
1999 Susan Ichinose
1998 Attorney General Margery Bronster
1997 Beadie Kanahele Dawson
1996 Yuklin Aluli
1995 Stephanie Rezents
1994 Pamela Ferguson-Brey
1993 Mervina Cash-Kaeo
1992 Esther Kwon Arinaga
1991 Ellen Godbey Carson
1990 Lorraine Akiba
1989 Joyce Neely & Leslie A. Hayashi
1988 Joann Yukimura
1987 Elizabeth Jubin Fujiwara
1986 Susan Oki Mollway
1985 Sherry Broder
1984 Angie King
1983 Shelby Anne Floyd
1982 Carol Mon Lee
1981 Meredith Lennel

Outstanding Judicial Achievement Award

2015 Hon. Linda K.C. Luke
2014 Hon. Jennifer Ching

2013 Judge Christine Kuriyama
2012 Judge Leslie Hayashi
2011 Judge Faye Koyanagi
2010 Judge Leslie Kobayashi
2009 Judge Corinne Watanabe

2008 Judge Mark Browning
2007 Judge Karen Radius
2006 Judge Sabrina S. McKenna
2005 Judge Colleen Hirai
2004 Judge Susan Oki Mollway
2003 Judge Marie Milks
2002 Justice Paula Nakayama
2001 Judge Frances Wong

Lifetime Achievement Award

2015 Marya Grambs
2014 Bobby Chong

2013 Director Loretta Fuddy

2012 Marilyn Lee
2011 Professor Jon Markham Van Dyke
2010 Chief Justice Ronald T. Y. Moon
2009 Mahealani Perez Wendt
2008 Sonia Faust
2007 Judge Marcia Waldorf
2006 Shimeji Ryusaki Kanazawa
2005 Melody MacKenzie
2004 Lois Yasui
2003 Alana W. Lau
2002 Shelby Anne Floyd
2001 Beadie Kanahele Dawson
2000 Bernice Littman
1999 Ah Quon McElrath
1998 Chief Justice William S. Richardson
1997 Honorable Evelyn Lance
1996 Congresswoman Patsy Mink
1995 Honorable Betty Vitousek
1994 Naomi Campbell


Distinguished Service Award

2015 Dr. Jill Omori
2014 Honorable Karen Radius (ret.)

2013 Representative Sylvia Luke

2012 U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono
2011 Elizabeth Kent
2010 Amy Agbayani, Ph. D
2009 Adriana Ramelli
2008 Rob Perez
2007 Chris Chun
2006 Dean Carol Mon Lee
2005 Laurie Tochiki
2004 Nanci Kreidman
2003 Lorraine Robinson
2002 Denise Antolini
2001 Allicyn Hikida Tasaka & Annelle Amaral
2000 Ellen Godbey Carson
1999 Diane Yukihiro Chang
1998 Jacqueline Young
1997 Dorothy “Dolly” Ching
1996 Judy Weightman
1995 Reverend Pamela Vessels & Anne Clarkin
1994 Judy Sobin & Windward Spouse Abuse Coalition
1993 Honorable Marie Milks
1992 Rep. Annelle Amaral & Sara Lyn Smith
1991 Chief Justice Herman T.F. Lum
1990 Honorable Helen Gillmor
1989 Senator Mary George
1988 Eleanor Pearce
1987 Naomi Campbell
1986 Congresswoman Patsy Mink
1985 C. Frederick Schutte
1984 Honorable Betty Vitousek
1982 Harriet Bouslog
1981 Rhoda Lewis

President’s Award

2015 Hon. Daniel R. Foley
2014 Women of Waianae

2013 Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women

2012 Ete Bowl Founders & Participants
2011 Susan Ichinose
2010 Kimberlee Bassford
2009 Elisabeth Chun
2008 Melissa Pavlicek
2007 Louise K. Y. Ing
2006 Congresswoman Mazie Hirono
2005 Representative Barbara Marumoto
2004 Dr. Laura Weldon Hoque
2003 Karen Char & June R. Lee
2002 Lynn Maunakea
2001 Patricia McManaman
2000 Rai Saint Chu & Emme Tomimbang
1999 M. Casey Jarman
1998 Sister Michelle McQueeny
1997 Gladys Kamakuokalani Aiona Brandt
1996 Honorable Marie Milks
1995 Madelyn Perry & Reverend Pamela Boyd
1994 Cynthia Thielen
1993 Trudy Burns Stone
1992 Sharon Burnham Takeuchi
1991 Susan Arinaga Li
1990 Michelle Tucker
1989 Susan Jaworowski